How do settlements in personal injury cases work? 39 Answers as of June 26, 2013

If a case goes to a jury trial for an on the job accident, and the plaintiff is found 99% liable, and the defendant 1%, does the plaintiff only receive 1% of the money the court awarded him/her?

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The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
If a personal injury case goes to trial in Oregon and the plaintiff is found more than 50% liable, then the plaintiff gets no money. In order to "win" a PI case in Oregon the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was at least 51% liable for the injury. If the plaintiff is able to do so then the plaintiff will be granted a commensurate percentage of the jury award. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 25% at fault and the jury awards $1000, then the plaintiff will receive $750 of the award, but if the plaintiff is 60% liable the plaintiff gets nothing.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/15/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2013
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
Texas has a comparative negligence statute. This means that the plaintiff can only collect if he is not more negligent than the defendant. So if the Plaintiff is 50% liable, he can collect 50% of his damages. If he is 20% liable, he can collect 80% of his damages. But if he is 51% or greater, he loses and cannot collect any damages.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
Consult with a locaplaintiff's personal injury/accident attorney regarding jury verdicts and the allocation of liability and the payment of damages in your specific case.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 8/9/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Yes. You only get 1%.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/9/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Generally, work related accidents are not tried to a jury but rather involve workers' compensation judges. If it is a jury trial and the issue is solely one of negligence between the plaintiff and the defendant, then a plaintiff can theoretically recover 1% of his damages if he is 99% at fault. There are situations where a defendant who is only partly at fault can be liable for an entire loss, but usually only when there are multiple defendants that are jointly liable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    In Florida there are no jury trials in worker comp cases. Worker comp is a no fault system so it does not matter how much each is at fault
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    The answer varies from state to state. In Nevada, if there is one plaintiff and one defendant, the plaintiff loses if the jury finds that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault. If the Plaintiff was 50% or less at fault the Plaintiff gets their damages reduced the percentage that that the Plaintiff was at fault. So, in your hypothetical question the plaintiff gets nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Raheen Law Group, P.C.
    Raheen Law Group, P.C. | Wali Raheen
    Virginia is a contributory negligence jurisdiction, which means that plaintiff recovers nothing if plaintiff is also at fault (even if 1% or less).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Ryan D. Harris
    With personal injury case settlements, the insurance company for the defendant(s) will want to settle the entire case all at the same time. Unlike workers compensation cases, where the employer's insurance company will advance lost earnings, and pay for medical expenses as the case progresses, etc.; in a personal injury case, a settlement will be a final total settlement at the conclusion of the case. The settlement will include items such as: medical expenses, lost earnings, and general damages (pain and suffering). These items will be factored into arriving at a total settlement amount, which will be paid by the insurance carrier in one lump sum. The settling defendant will require a total release of the claimant's case as part of the settlement, which means that the case is over and cannot be reopened in the future.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Normally on the job accidents are covered under the Worker's Compensation law, and no jury trial is available. If a third party injures someone while they are on the job and is sued, under your scenario the plaintiff would only receive one percent (1%) of the total damage award if he were 99 percent at fault.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    No. Zero recovery. Montana requires the Plaintiff be no more than 50% responsible to recover 50% of his damages. If plaintiff is 51% negligent, then no recovery is allowed.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    To recover in a personal injury case a plaintiff must be less negligent than the defendant. If the plaintiff is more negligent than the defendant he gets nothing.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Exactly. And then you give the attorney 33% (or whatever amount is in your contract), and then costs are taken out of your portion, and then you receive the remainder. That's why, unless you have very serious injuries, it is not always a good idea to proceed on a case where you are mostly at fault.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Under Georgia law the plaintiff can be negligent and partially responsible for the injury and still recover, in a reduced amount, as long as the plaintiff's percentage of negligence is less than 50%. If the injury is caused by 50% or more negligence by the plaintiff then the plaintiff cannot recover anything.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Yes, this is typically how it works. The court will usually advise what the total value of the plaintiff's case is worth and then deduct from the total the percentage of fault.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    There would be no recovery however a worker's compensation claim does not use the jury trial system.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    When you suffer a work injury there is no fault comparison between the employer and the employee. There is no jury trial in Worker's Compensation cases. There is a judge that decides disputed claims. That decision then can be appealed to the full Worker's Compensation Board.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    In New York negligence cases the liability is shared. Think of a pie graph. You can be partially responsible for your accident, not at fault at all or totally responsible. If you are found to be partially responsible, your settlement is reduced by that portion that you are at fault for the accident.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    There are several questions here: If it is an "on the job accident", the injured person cannot bring an action against his employer, other than worker's compensation. In a worker's comp case, it does not matter who is "at fault". If the claim is against someone other than the employer, then the liability may be apportioned, and the award is divided according to that apportionment. As for settlement, each party is trading a known result against an unknown result so if you are being offered $100, what's the probability of going to trial, winning and getting $1000? or $99? or zero?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Offices of Tom Patton
    Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
    Generally speaking, workplace injuries do not result in lawsuits, because they are handled within the framework established by worker's compensation statutes. Occasionally, however, there is a third-party (not the employer) that can be sued for negligence at the workplace. In that case, your question below would be appropriate. The answer depends where the accident occurred. In Oregon, the defendant would have to be over 50% liable to pay anything. In Washington, the plaintiff would indeed recover 1%.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    In Virginia personal injury cases, the law is very clear that if the Plaintiff is even 1% at fault, then the Plaintiff does not recover anything.This is known as the bar of contributory negligence. Now, you mention that this is an on the job accident. The laws for worker's compensation cases are different. If the employer is being sued, then that statute controls. The one exception is for railroad workers. They can make a claim against the employer under the Federal Employer's Liability Act or FELA and under that law, a recovery is still possible even if the defendant is only 1% at fault.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Judnich Law Office
    Judnich Law Office | Martin W. Judnich
    In Montana, if the Plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault, then the plaintiff does not recover anything. So the 1% you referenced, means the Plaintiff received $0.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    Colorado is a "partial" comparative fault state. Other states are "pure" comparative fault states. Unfortunately for you, in Colorado, once the plaintiff is determined to be 50% at fault, the plaintiff loses. So, if the plaintiff is 99% at fault in Colorado, they lose the case. In a pure comparative fault state (again, Colorado is not one) you would still get 1% of your damages. But in Colorado, you lose. Sorry.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky | Mark Kotlarsky
    Strange question. In a workers compensation case the fault is not an issue and an injured worker recovers even if he is 100 percent at fault. In a negligence case in MD, plaintiff cannot recover if he is even 0.00001% at fault.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Most on the job injuries are covered by workers comp, but in a normal injury case, we have modified comparative negligence here in Michigan. Meaning if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot collect any pain and suffering damages, but still could collect 1% of economic damages in your hypothetical.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm | Spencer E. Farris
    If it was an on the job accident and is filed under workers' compensation, the employee's fault doesn't matter. Workers' compensation is a no fault system, absent alcohol or drug use. If it is a matter in civil court, then yes, under comparative fault, a single defendant only pays the portion of the damages which he caused.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Link & Smith, P.C.
    Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
    If a jury finds a defendant more at fault than the plaintiff, but also attributes some fault to the plaintiff, then the plaintiff's recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff's percentage of fault. For example, suppose a plaintiff is found to be 25% at fault and that the jury also determined the value of the plaintiff's injuries was $100,000. In such case, the plaintiff's award would be reduced by her percentage of negligence, so she would receive an award of $75,000.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Berg & McLaughlin, Chtd.
    Berg & McLaughlin, Chtd. | Stephen Snedden
    It depends on each state. Idaho has adopted modified comparative negligence. This means that if your fault is 50% or greater, you receive nothing. If the fault of the other party is greater than 50%, then your damages are according to liability, e.g. $100k in total damages and other party is liable for 60%, then you will be awarded $60k.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    This is obviously not an Alabama question. We do not have comparative fault.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Philip C. Alexander
    In California, if you as the Plaintiff were found 99% liable, then the jury verdict would be reduced by 99%.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Typically, yes, plus the attorney can recover whatever "taxable costs" which he advanced in the prosecution of the case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    The title of your question says settlements but the actual question discusses trial. In a settlement, the plaintiff gets whatever is negotiated with the defendant(s) less expenses, attorney fee and any liens. After a trial, the amount of the judgment is reduced by the percentage of liability the jury puts on the plaintiff.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In Utah, if a personal injury case goes to a jury trial (your case is NOT a personal injury case; see below) and the jury renders a verdict, the jury will also be asked to assign fault. If the jury assigns more than 50% of fault to the plaintiff (i.e., the person who brought the suit), the plaintiff does not receive anything. If the jury assigns 99% fault to the plaintiff, the plaintiff does not receive anything. If the case is regarding an on-the-job accident, then the injured worker has to bring the case through the workers compensation system, and there is no jury trial. The case would go through workers compensation, not a lawsuit against the employer. If you were injured on the job you should consult an attorney who specializes in workers compensation and workplace injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/8/2011
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